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SATs - explaining why they are important to my Y6 DS

(151 Posts)
JustADadHere Sun 11-May-14 21:55:51

My son is currently in a state primary but will be going to an independent secondary school. He is sitting all the Level 6 SATs. He is questioning me as to why SATs are important and why people are getting so stressed about them versus any other assessment. I haven't told him that his secondary school will in all likelihood ignore his SATs results.

What do you think I can tell him? Why ARE they so important?

LowCloudsForming Fri 16-May-14 21:08:19

I was recently looking through our school's old HT journals - I was really surprised at the high pupil numbers until I saw the pupil age breakdown and twigged that the age span was 5-14!

mrz Fri 16-May-14 18:21:25

They correspond to the infant junior model that's been around since the 1944 education act prior to that schools covered age 5-14

LowCloudsForming Fri 16-May-14 17:54:49

TW2K - that makes me wonder how the current Key Stages were dreamt up…one might assume that they should match developmental stages but clearly not. I agree with you about R-4. There is a huge leap in physical and mental maturity in Y5/6 plus they start posturing and flirting….

teacherwith2kids Fri 16-May-14 17:27:09


I have taught in a 3 tier system in a rural area.

In that scenario, it works well. Small, village-based First schools (to Y4). Ideal for first few years at school - no transport to negotiate as a 4 year old, 'family' atmosphere, typically mixed year classes.

Then fewer, larger, middle schools, usually in the slightly larger centres of population (Years 5-7). Ideal for children old enough to get buses, benefiting from larger peer groups, more specialist teachers (taught on a secondary model of subject teachers in general) and concentrating resources such as sports facilities in fewer, larger centres.

Finally a small number of upper / high schools, children bussed up to 10 miles. Ideal for older teens, all with 6th forms.

[I have also taught in R-5, 6-8, Year 9+ 3 tier - I prefer the R-4 version as I think by year 5 many of the small First schools cramp the style of upper KS2)

It doesn't matcgh key stages, but it does seem to match 'developmental stages' of children - small child, older child, teen.

IrianofWay Fri 16-May-14 10:32:53

migsy - I too am looking forward to DS getting some help at our secondary. They appear to be amazing with children who really struggle and/or have SEN (lots of support) and even more amazing with top flight pupils (DD's parents evening always leaves me floating on a cloud of delighted shock!) but pupils like my DS1 who is bright but unmotivated do not do well. He left last summer with dreadful results.

Migsy1 Fri 16-May-14 10:25:20

My son told me his teacher said to them that they better do well in their SATS because if they don't he will be in trouble and it will look bad to OFSTED. I had to laugh. At least he is honest!

pointythings Fri 16-May-14 08:19:30

LowClouds previously DD2's primary finished after Yr4 and SATs would be taken at Middle School in Yr6 - this is what DD1 did.

Personally I am a fan of the 2-tier system, but then I would say that because I grew up in a country which has no 3-tier at all. It just strikes me that two changes of school would be more disruptive than one, but I am no expert. I will say though that in the Dutch system I grew up in, there is internal separation within secondaries, with the Yr7 and 8 pupils receiving a lot of pastoral care and transition support through those first 2 years.

LowCloudsForming Fri 16-May-14 07:51:06

Interesting article. Many US counties also use a 3 tier system which has been in existence for far longer than the UK experiment, which probably lends weight to its effectiveness. However, they do of course have many differences in approach and evaluation which would make it hard to directly compare. Sorry, at risk of derailing thread! We'll have to start another one somewhere.

HercShipwright Fri 16-May-14 07:39:08

There's an article written when many 3 tier systems converted to 2 tier here

mrz Fri 16-May-14 07:34:40

3 tier went out of favour in some areas when the National Curriculum Key Stages were introduced as there is obviously a mismatch.

HercShipwright Fri 16-May-14 07:03:09

There was a study when the 3 tier system was pioneered, I believe - by Ted Wragg. And another one, also by him, when it was abandoned here. But it still lingers on in some places.

LowCloudsForming Thu 15-May-14 23:54:19

I suppose one can become accustomed to everything….eventually. That's an awful lot of change and movement for a child. I'd love to know if there are any studies/see those studies re: efficacy of 1 vs 2 vs 3 tier systems.

HercShipwright Thu 15-May-14 23:32:13

Some areas have first, middle and secondary schools. First schools cover KS1. Middle schools encompass KS2 and a bit or all of KS3. Secondary or upper schools may cover a bit of KS3, and all of KS4. Sometimes the split is at Y8, sometimes at Y9. We used to have the first middle and upper split where I live with the split from middle to upper occurring at y8. We changed a few years ago.

LowCloudsForming Thu 15-May-14 23:27:47

So does that mean that Pointy's school previously had seamless KS2-KS3 without SATs? Being thick here I suspect but all rather an alien notion. I find it hard enough to grasp the idea that schools round here don't have 6th forms. Someone asked me today if my son (Y11) was finishing school…I was quite thrown until I realised what she meant. She was quite thrown at first when I'd responded with a puzzled frown and said that he was staying.

teacherwith2kids Thu 15-May-14 23:19:59


2 tier = primary + secondary.

3 tier = (usually) first + middle + upper / high

Although in principle, infant + junior + secondary also has 3 steps, it doesn't seem to be described as 3 tier. Odd.

LowCloudsForming Thu 15-May-14 22:49:36

Pointy - I don't know what you mean by two tier

pointythings Thu 15-May-14 22:35:28

I don't think we had balance in DD2's school. I think they were so flustered by last year's OFSTED and bad SATs result that they just pushed it too hard. The 2013 cohort was their first to take KS2 SATs as we have recently gone 2-tier - they did badly, so DD's year has paid the price.

The school have been supportive and kind about everything, and yes - they do have a fun day planned for tomorrow and then back to normal - but I would really have liked to see a lot less of the SATs stuff. And that is in spite of the fact that specialist maths support has made DD2 realise that actually, she is good at maths, which she has never believed.

HercShipwright Thu 15-May-14 22:32:18

We didn't get any mock papers at home at all. Nor any homework. I wasn't expecting any, and I wouldn't have been pleased had we had any. I was expecting a proper l6 maths table doing the right level work (and a couple of the kids are l7) in normal school time, as the school engaged a maths specialist and put all the L6 or higher kids in the same class to facilitate proper extension work in normal lessons. What we got was almost an entire year of supply teachers teaching to the LCD in the class (which was 'balanced', as a whole, by having not just the L6 and higher kids but also the ones struggling to get L4 - the middling ones were in a different class) because they 'maths specialist' was off most of the time. And apparently the various supply teachers couldn't be expected to do proper extension work with the top table who were largely left to their own devices (being Roundhead generals etc. no doubt). Ah well.

LowCloudsForming Thu 15-May-14 22:31:40

Sounds as though ours are at a similar school with a good balance TW2K. smile

teacherwith2kids Thu 15-May-14 22:26:00

We have never had any papers of any kind home.

i believe that they do ?2, maybe 3 at a stretch, sets of trial papers in school, evenly spaced throughout Y6 (Sept, December, March). Um ... and that's about it. They are just taught. Well, and well-matched to wghat they need to learn next.

They have a fun afternoon tomorrow, I gather, then back to normal timetable for next week.

LowCloudsForming Thu 15-May-14 22:17:20

In my experience not all primary schools do the amount of prepping you describe for either L5 or L6 tests. Am rather shocked that it comes home at all. We've received 1 set of mock papers 2 weeks before the test and that was considered really upping the stakes compared with previous years.

teacherwith2kids Thu 15-May-14 18:27:36

DS and DD's priary school just kept on teaching all through Year 6, at whatever level was needed for each individual child next. For some children, that automatically meant that they moved on to Level 6. Foe others, they were taught at level 3.

pointythings Thu 15-May-14 18:25:58

Agreed, mrz - DD2's school brought in a maths specialist to do just that.

mrz Thu 15-May-14 18:06:01

mrz Thu 15-May-14 17:59:20

It would be difficult if not impossible no matter how bright, to achieve level 6 unless the child has been taught the content of the level 6 curriculum

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